Attorney: Benefit of delaying Kohberger hearing is time

(NewsNation) — Idaho suspect Bryan Kohberger waived his right to a speedy preliminary hearing Thursday. His next hearing is almost six months away, which came as a shock to many people following the case.

Kohberger, who is accused of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students in November, made his court appearance in an orange T-shirt and only spoke when asked direct questions. Kohberger is expected to return to court for a preliminary hearing on June 26 at 9 a.m.

Criminal defense attorney Richard Blok appeared on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” to discuss the case. He said the main benefit of delaying the hearing is buying the defense more time.

“They need time to go through what’s going to be a mountain of information that has been dumped on their laps. They need time to investigate themselves. They’ve got to do their own independent investigation,” Blok said.

In that time, Blok believes the defense will try to establish trust with Kohberger, review evidence, independently investigate the case, and gather trial experts. From a prosecution point of view, Blok says they are likely preparing witnesses, shearing up information, filling in gaps in their evidence and looking for motive, which has not been publicly disclosed yet.

“I’m sure the prosecution at this point has his cellphones, his computers, and they’re really going to try to dig in and figure out why he did this,” Blok said.

The prosecution agreed to push back the hearing, which is expected to take about a week with witnesses possibly being called from both sides.

Kohberger is expected to enter a guilty or not guilty plea around the time of the preliminary or arraignment hearings. This is significant because Blok says the rule in Idaho is that prosecutors have to give notice they are seeking the death penalty 60 days after the entry of a guilty plea or not guilty plea.

Police in Moscow, Idaho, believe Kohberger killed Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin at an off-campus rental home on Nov. 13. Kohberger was arrested on Dec. 30.

According to a probable cause affidavit, authorities found a knife sheath with Kohberger’s DNA on it at the home. Investigators have not found a murder weapon.

Kohberger’s attorney during the extradition hearings told NewsNation senior national correspondent Brian Entin there are “holes” in the affidavit. Blok believes since there is a lot of local emotion linked to the case, a change of venue request by the defense is likely in an effort to find a more neutral jury.

At this time, no bail has been set for Kohberger.

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